First-round playoff loss ends Pine-Richland boys lacrosse season
Sunday, May 22, 2022 | 9:01 AM
The Pine-Richland boys lacrosse team clawed out of an early hole after dropping seven of its first eight games to finish third in Section 2-3A and earn the right to host a playoff game.
But the Rams ran out of steam in their postseason opener against a Penn-Trafford team set on making history.
Carter Green scored five times to lead the No. 10 Warriors to their first ever playoff win, 17-8, at No. 7 Pine-Richland in the WPIAL Class 3A first round Monday night.
The Warriors led from start to finish.
It was an abrupt way to end, but it didn’t diminish the gains made from early March to May for the Rams under first-year coach Dave Offner. They finished 7-10 overall.
“It was definitely a slow start to the season, but we strung together six wins in a row,” Offner said. “To make it to the playoffs and host a playoff game was awesome. It showed the resiliency in the group. To come up short with a loss stings because we were starting to get hot at the right moment. We were putting all the pieces together. I’m proud of the effort the boys put in all season.”
Not only did the win make program history for the Warriors, it allowed them to exact a bit of revenge on Pine-Richland, which bounced them from the playoffs last season. The Rams also picked up a tight 13-11 win over Penn-Trafford on March 28.
“Pine-Richland is always a good program and last year the script was flipped for us,” Green said. “This year we came out hungry, and we wanted that first (boys lacrosse) playoff win in Penn-Trafford history.”
The Warriors jumped to a 5-1 lead buoyed by a pair of goals from Braedan Mastine. Then a storm rolled in, forcing a 30-minute lightning delay.
Any worries of the delay being a momentum buster were put to rest when play resumed. Green, Mastine and Bennett Dupilka scored consecutive goals to up the lead to 8-1.
“We talked about it and how we had to come back out like it was a 0-0 game,” Penn-Trafford coach Charlie Hach said. “You’re concerned about losing that intensity after jumping out 5-1 and then sitting for a half hour, but our guys came out sharp. They were focused the entire game. I’m proud of them.”
The Rams made a run late in the first half with a pair of goals from leading scorer Cooper Zancosky and a tally by Owen Luellen, but the Warriors answered with a 3-0 run, including a goal by Gavin Weaver in the final 30 seconds to make it 11-4 going into halftime.
Penn-Trafford used a 5-1 margin in the third quarter to put the game away.
Not only did Green, a Seton Hill recruit, lead the way in the goal department, he consistently won faceoffs, giving the Warriors a huge advantage in time on attack.
“They were playing physical and set the tone early with the efficiency they had on offense,” Offner said. “(Green) did a really good job on faceoffs. Our kids had a really good year at the faceoff x, but they had our number. They won the possessions and valued the ball. We didn’t force many turnovers on the other end. That really hurt us with the time of possession.”
The Rams were without one of their leading scorers, Andrew Mellis, who was out due to injury.
“He’s an impact player,”Offner said of Mellis. “It definitely would’ve helped to have him, but it didn’t change our game plan too much. We we’re ready to go with the guys we had. It was a tough loss to have, but we hoped we could fill it with our depth.”
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer
More High School Lacrosse• Breaking down changes to the 2023-24 WPIAL girls lacrosse alignment
• Breaking down changes to the 2023-24 WPIAL boys lacrosse alignment
• Senior core made a difference for Bethel Park girls lacrosse
• 1st state playoff victory headlines Quaker Valley boys lacrosse season
• Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse catches lightning in a bottle in WPIAL championship season